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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 2 Hansard (28 February) . . Page.. 429 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

appalling of them. How dare they wish to negotiate on a draft document provided to them for the purposes of negotiation. How dare they. How absolutely appalling."

The Chief Minister stands here and says that because the ANF wants to negotiate on a negotiating draft it is bringing itself into a position of conflict with the government and it is in conflict with government policies, programs or activities. One is now deemed to be in conflict with the government, its programs and activities if one dares to negotiate on a draft document. What a load of humbug. We all know it is humbug. It is classic union bashing.

It concerns me to see the Chief Minister trying to distance himself from Mr Tonkin, dropping Mr Tonkin in it as the redneck in this case. Mr Tonkin, the titular head of the public service, is indicating to all the union members notionally within his employ that he derides the fact that they dare belong to a union and that he regards their membership of a union as political activity and political activism on their part. Is he in effect saying here that if you are in the ACT public service and you belong to a union-that you dare to belong to a union whilst you work for the ACT government-you are prima facie in conflict with government policy, programs or activities? What an appalling position, what an appalling breach of Mr Tonkin's duty to his employees.

It is worth taking further the ANF's response to Mr Humphries in relation to Mr Tonkin's actions. The ANF state the situations quite explicitly and extremely well. The ANF have written to the government, they have written to the Chief Minister and they want questions answered in relation to Mr Tonkin's absolutely bizarre decision in relation to this matter.

The ANF has asked the government to please explain how it is that this advertisement conflicts with government policies, programs, or activities. Precisely how does it conflict with government policies, programs, or activities? It does not and we all know that it does not. The ANF has asked that the government provide it with the opportunity to consider suggesting amendments to the advertisement. The guideline suggests that advertisements will be vetted. What is it about this advertisement that concerns the government? Why could it not have been amended if there is something that is so appallingly objectionable in it? Why were not some amendments suggested to the ANF in the vetting process?

The ANF has asked the government to explain how the position of ANF members in relation to the government's flawed enterprise bargaining variation offer has any relevance to pay slip advertising guidelines. Quite precisely-how does it? It does not, of course, and we all know that it does not.

The Chief Minister, in his remarks on this matter, in effect did not get beyond suggesting that unions are emanations of political parties or are in themselves political. That is in effect what he said. He has actually included unions and all unionists within the exception in the guidelines that "No political advertising of any sort will be accepted". The Chief Minister has simply accepted the connection between union and politics-I think in Mr Humphries' mind it is a case of union, Labor and politics.

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